NYC Planning Director Walks the East Side with a Tape Measure

New York City planning chief Burden took the Daily News on one of her many walks. She showed how zoning can work to preserve the way of life on the storied Lower East Side and East Village, where she has worked diligently with the community on a plan to encourage affordable housing, ignite positive reinvestment, and prevent out-of-character high structures from impacting the neighborhood again.

"Most New Yorkers think zoning is a bad word, and that tough change is afoot when the city planning department comes to their neighborhood.

Amanda Burden, who chairs the city planning commission, works long hours to fight that perception.

She looks at each neighborhood block by block, lot by lot. To her, the city is a jewel that needs constant care and safekeeping.

'Each neighborhood has its own personal DNA,' says Burden, who had an immediate impact on the city when she took her position in 2002 by allowing restaurants, bars and cafes additional sidewalk space for outdoor dining. 'It's my job to find it and save it.'"

Thanks to Irene Jacobs

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